US’ Bancroft or Russia’s Wagner? Cold War Redux in Central African Republic

cc US Africa Command, modified, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Hartenstein, combat engineer 402nd Engineer Company(Sapper), gives feedback to a member of the Rwanda Defence force during the field training exercise of Exercise Shared Accord 2019, in Gabiro, Rwanda, Aug. 25, 2019. SA 19, which runs Aug. 14-28, is focused on bringing together U.S. and Rwandan forces, African partner militaries, allies and international organizations to increase readiness, interoperability, and partnership building between participating nations for peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. Heather Doppke/79th Theater Sustainment Command),

Landlocked in the heart of Africa, the Central African Republic generates far fewer Western headlines than its Congolese or Cameroonian neighbors. It nonetheless remains a country of strategic importance on the global chessboard – not just for its mineral endowment spanning copper, gold, and diamonds (with the latter accounting for half of the country’s export earnings), but also due to its geographic location, nestled between countries of considerable size and economic weight. Gaining influence in CAR allows foreign powers to strengthen their wider geopolitical presence in Africa.

No country believes in the geopolitical importance of CAR more than Russia, which had hitherto enjoyed preeminent influence in the country. However, the situation changed in December, when a private US military firm got involved with the administration of President Faustin Archange Touadéra, realizing a widely believed desire on the part of Touadéra to diversify the CAR’s foreign ties away from Moscow.

Back to Top


Lost your password?